Published: January 8, 2002
NORFOLK, VA. – The Chrysler Museum of Art has recently acquired a Nineteenth Century center table designed by the important French architect Jacques-Ignace Hittorff and manufactured by the company Hachette & Cie.
The enamel-on-lava table is decorated with exquisitely painted exotic birds, butterflies and flowers. The delicate and skilled workmanship required to paint on the porous lava ground, quarried from the Comte de Chabrol de Volvic’s lava mines, is extraordinary.
The table exhibits many of the prominent themes of Western art of the second quarter of the Nineteenth Century: the search for exotic materials; a curiosity in technological advancements; and the pursuit of unusual and striking examples of plants and animals from the natural world.
Production and collection of luxury goods were also hallmarks of the early Nineteenth Century, especially in France where the government zealously promoted existing French industries
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